The famous creamy and rich-textured heavy whipping cream is a versatile cooking ingredient that is used in a wide variety of sweet and savory recipes. From delicious sauces to casseroles to soups; heavy whipping cream has found a place in many recipes, ranging from dessert, side dish, or main course recipes.
Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream is the high-fat part of fresh milk, with no less than 36% fat. Because of its rich nature, just a little can go a long way when it is added to dishes, so having leftover whipping cream can be a common occurrence.
Seeing that the expiry date of your whipping cream is staring at you in the face but you don’t intend to make any meals that would call for it yet, I bet you’d want to know if you can use heavy whipping cream after expiration date. Well, let’s see if you can!
Can You Use Heavy Whipping Cream After Expiration Date?
Ideally, you should not use heavy whipping cream after expiration date, in fact, you should not use any food product after the expiration date, but in the case of heavy whipping cream, many reports state that heavy cream will stay at its best quality for about 2-3 weeks after the expiration date on the package, assuming it has been continuously refrigerated.
Typically, heavy cream lasts much longer than its expiration date, especially if not opened. It does not mean that you can go about consuming expired heaving whipping cream indiscriminately! You still need to watch out for signs of spoilage (as explained under the heading- HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM HAS GONE BAD).
In all that you do, do not forget the rule of thumb- when in doubt, throw it out!
What Happens If You Eat Expired Heavy Cream?
If you eat expired heavy cream that is already spoiled, you can develop symptoms of food poisoning such as fever, chills, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
How to Know If Your Heavy Whipping Cream Has Gone Bad
The best way to know if your heavy cream has gone bad is to observe its smell and appearance. An already deteriorating heavy cream will have an off-odor, off-color, and a thick or clumpy texture.
The signs of spoilage in heavy whipping cream include:
- Mold growth or surface discoloration: Abnormal growth or discoloration in heavy cream may be caused by molds, which may also cause it to split from the container. You should discard the whole heavy cream if you notice such discoloration.
- Abnormal/unusual taste: If your heavy whipping cream has lost its creamy flavor and starts to taste like curd, it is no longer suitable for consumption. Discard it.
- Abnormal smell: A good whipping cream must have a mild, milky smell, not a sour, fermented, or rancid odor. A sour cream smell is an indication of spoilage. Soured cream has a distinctive smell as bacteria begin to ferment the milk and the milk fat starts to oxidize. If you notice any abnormal smell, discard the cream immediately.
How Long Does Heavy Whipping Cream Last After Whipping
The shelf life of heavy whipping cream after whipping is influenced by a variety of factors, such as the processing method, the packaging, and storage conditions. Whipped cream lasts between 2 days – 3 months depending on whether it is homemade or store-bought, with homemade whipped cream having shorter shelf life than the commercial ones because of the stabilizers and preservatives present in the latter. The storage conditions also play an important role in the shelf stability of your whipped cream.
To extend the shelf life of your whipped cream, keep it in an air-tight container that will help keep out moisture and other contaminants, then store in the refrigerator below 40°F immediately after each use. Freezing homemade whipped cream, however, may result in a less than perfect consistency. Alternatively, you can freeze your leftover whipped cream by piping it on a cookie tray and freezing it until solid. Once frozen, transfer all the portions into a freezer bag or container and store them in the freezer.
How Best To Store Whipping Cream After Opening
Like all other milk products and perishable items, heavy whipping cream has a relatively short shelf life, especially after it has been opened. However, this can be optimized by storing it properly. With proper storage, it can stay good for weeks and even months! However, its quality and structural integrity may be affected during storage.
Here are some tips on how to store your whipping cream after opening.
- After opening your whipping cream, keep the container tightly closed and store it in the refrigerator.
- Store already opened whipping cream in the main body of the refrigerator; do not store it on the fridge door.
- Freezing helps to further extend the shelf life of whipping cream; although frozen whipping cream may not whip well when thawed, and the texture may become somewhat grainy, it is usually acceptable for cooking and baking.
- Always freeze whipping cream in an airtight container, leaving at least 1/2 inch headspace at the top, as whipping cream will expand when frozen.
- Thaw frozen whipping cream in the refrigerator.
Read also: How to Keep Alfredo Sauce Creamy
Best Uses for Expired Heavy Cream
The best way you can use expired heavy cream that has not gone bad is to whip it up and turn it into butter for cooking.
While it is not advised that you use heavy whipping cream after expiration date, you may decide to use it after 2-3 weeks of expiration using your discretion to judge its condition. However, if you want to take the risk and use heavy whipping cream after expiration date, be sure that it has been properly stored and that you observe its appearance and smell. Anything out of the normal is an indication of spoilage; such cream should be discarded immediately.
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I write about the intersection between evolutionary biology and food. I also talk about practical applications, sustainable agriculture, and general tasty things